Spinal Cord Compression

Compression of the spinal cord can be caused by a number of conditions, including herniated discs, spinal tumors, spinal fractures, spinal deformities, inflections, and blood clots. The spinal cord can become compressed suddenly or over time.

The expert team of doctors at UT Southwestern’s Spine Center specialize in all available evidence-based treatments for spinal cord compression – both medical and surgical. We offer our patients the most advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies and techniques, including specialized spine imaging.

When surgery is recommended, our skilled surgeons can perform procedures minimally invasively in many cases, which reduces recovery time.

Our multidisciplinary approach gets you access to neurosurgeons, orthopaedists, and other specialists with one call. We strive to coordinate, facilitate, and expedite patient care, and save our patients time.

Our goal is to partner with our patients in their care, get them back to health as soon as possible, and help them achieve the best outcomes.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of spinal cord compression depend on the degree to which the spinal cord is compressed – and can range from relatively mild to severe. They can include:

  • Back pain
  • Sciatica (radiating pain down the leg)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Erectile dysfunction in men
  • Problems with bladder and/or bowel control

If we suspect that you have spinal cord compression, we will conduct a physical examination and order and order spine imaging studies. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with computed tomography (CT) is often used to diagnose spinal cord compression.


After diagnosis, we’ll make sure you see the right experts to treat your specific symptoms. The treatment for spinal cord compression depends upon its cause and severity. The spine specialists at UT Southwestern treat spinal cord compression with therapies that include:

  • Surgery
  • Intravenous corticosteroid medication
  • Radiation therapy (for cancerous spinal cord tumors)

We will create a care plan that minimizes the number of visits you need to make while also providing you with the support you need.

Clinical Trials

UT Southwestern conducts clinical trials aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of spinal cord compression. Talk with your doctor to see if a clinical trial is right for you.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a specialist in spinal cord compression at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas or to learn more about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.